TEFL Express staffer Nathan is here to tell us about Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is awesome! I say this with such confidence, because I didn’t know what to expect when I decided to go on this holiday, but I was blown away. Not only does it have a city feel somewhat like Blade Runner combined with mainland China and London, it also has a surprising amount of trekking and nature just a short bus ride away.
Is it close?
Chances are that if you are travelling in Asia, you might end up doing a layover in Hong Kong anyway. Why not book a multi-city ticket and stay there for a week instead of 10 hours in the airport? When I’ve looked into this option in the past, the price is usually similar.
Is it expensive?
Yes and no. There’s no getting around it, any accommodation that you book is going to be expensive as it is one of the most densely populated cities on earth. I tried finding cheap places on AirBnB, but they were still around 60usd per night. Another thing to note is that the rooms that you rent are going to be tiny (like a large bathroom) and likely located inside of a massive shopping center or office building. I stayed in three different places during my ten days there and they were all like this. Fellow travellers reported the same thing. Pay attention to the directions for what entrance you should come in at as well, or you may find yourself wandering these massive buildings for hours. Yes, this happened to me.
Getting around the city is fairly cheap. Hong Kong has an excellent public transportation system and even the ferries were modestly priced. Taxis, though not cheap, were affordable.
Your food options are excellent and incredibly varied in terms of price. Street food and diners, with plenty of amazing options, are pretty cheap. That, or you can go to Michelin Star restaurants and, naturally, pay for it.
What should I do?
There are a lot of options, so I’ll just tell you some of the cool things that I did.
- Shop. A lot of people literally travel to Hong Kong just for shopping. There are cheap deals on electronics, clothing and most other things. I don’t really like shopping, but I found myself doing a lot of it in Hong Kong.
- Go up Victoria Peak. There’s a really cool railcar that goes to the top. Once there, you can get a spectacular view of the city.
- See a comedy show at TakeOut Comedy Club. They have some great comedians that come through here. You can bring in your own drinks.
- Wander around the city parks. There are some great ones. You’ll see people painting, doing exercise, dancing and more.
- Eat street food. There’s a lot to try. My favorites were dumplings, egg tarts, stinky tofu and streetside BBQ.
- Go camping/hiking. My wife and I spent four days camping on beaches on the MacLehose trail. This particular trail goes for 200km and there are campsites along the way. It’s one of many hiking opportunities in the national parks of Hong Kong.
- Go to The Globe. The Globe is a famous pub in Hong Kong central. It’s famously where the press hangs out and feels like a British pub (yes, Scotch eggs are available). They have an extensive beer menu and incredibly friendly/interesting staff.
- Go to museums. Great art museums and natural history museums. I’d also recommend checking out what is being displayed at the many galleries.
- Get an Oyster card. More than just a public transport card, you can purchase almost anything with these.
- Get a sim card with unlimited data for the length of your stay. Hong Kong has excellent internet, and buying a simcard with unlimited data is cheap. It will help you navigate this vast city and keep you informed of cool events happening.
- Almost everyone, with the exception of some areas on the outskirts, spoke some English. Don’t worry about trying to learn an extensive amount of Cantonese.
- Pay attention to directions on how to find your hotel. I mentioned this earlier, but it’s important.
- Buy an umbrella. When I was there in the summer, the rain came in short, but frequent, bursts. An umbrella was the best purchase that I made there.
Nathan says :
Hong Kong is THE postmodern city. I’ve never been somewhere that felt quite so different every time I got off the metro. Generally, if you’re interested in doing it, Hong Kong probably has it. I remember having a strange craving for an American style 50s diner. I searched for it on the internet and found a great place that served pickleback shots, chili fries and milkshakes. It reminded me of the diner from Pulp Fiction. Oddly enough, it was founded by a Scottish woman. Much of my time in Hong Kong was like that. A strange mix of cultures and full of fun things to discover.